Frank Fiore – Novelist & Screenwriter

July 8, 2009

Writing Crisis Within a Crisis

Filed under: On Writing — Frank Fiore @ 10:16 AM

John Ford is one of my favorite directors and there was one thing I learned from him in writing action/adventure thrillers.

The crisis within the crisis.

Take the scene in John Ford’s Stagecoach. The first crisis is the stagecoach being attacked by Indians. During the attack, the driver is shot and the horses pulling the stagecoach run wild. John Wayne has to rein the horses in while he is being shot at by the Indians.

Two crises going on at the same time.

I use this in my new book CyberKill. Travis Cole is working his way through the air vents of the US Army Information Warfare Laboratory to reach Dorian who is about to terminate all human life on earth with SIRUS. While crawling through the vent, and with little time to waste, he is attacked by one of the battlebots. Now we have Dorian ready to push the button and Cole fighting off the battlebot to get to Dorian.

I use it again in my upcoming novel A Taste of the Apocalypse. Here, Jeremy Nash is at the Dome of the Rock trying to prevent the weapon in a blimp from decimating the mosque. The first crisis is trying to stop the blimp from firing the weapon. The second crisis is Nash fighting off a henchman as he attempts to stop the blimp in mid-air.

If you watch a lot of movies like I do, you’ll see that many times this crisis within a crisis is used in action/adventure thriller movies.

I write my novels as movies and follow the same pacing and use the tricks I discovered while watching them.

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